Leading truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland has introduced a new range of its pickup vehicle, Bada Dost, as the Hinduja flagship gears up to boost its presence and market share in the small commercial vehicle segment that is expected to register good growth in the coming months.

The company has introduced 2.5 tonnes GVW (gross vehicle weight) Bada Dost i1, which will have a payload capacity of 1.5 tonne and 2.88 tonne GVW Bada Dost i2, which will offer a payload capacity of 1.425 tonne. Both have been designed to offer the widest deck of 1750 mm width and longest deck of 2596 mm (8.5 ft) for i1 & 2745 mm (9 ft) for i2, which is the highest in the category.

The new range comes with a mileage promise of 16-17 km per litre. It has also launched a features-packed Limited Edition of Bada Dost to celebrate two years of the model.

Bada Dost i1 will be priced at ₹7.9 lakh (the AC version will be available with an additional amount of ₹25,000), while Bada Dost i2 is priced at ₹8.63 lakh. The limited edition model is priced at ₹9.43 lakh.

“The new range has been introduced based on the customer feedback especially in e-commerce sectors and a few other applications where customers travel about 200 km a day,” Rajat Gupta, Head – Light Commercial Vehicles, Ashok Leyland, told BusinessLine during the launch.

While the company offers Bada Dost i3 and i4 in the 3-tonne-and-above category, the current range comes in the 2.5-2.9 tonne range, filling some gap in its pick-up portfolio as also to take on competition. While i1 may target customers in intra-city applications, i2 will focus on customers in both the intra-city and inter-city applications.

‘Chip shortage is easing’

Dheeraj Hinduja, Executive Chairman, Ashok Leyland, said the issues relating to the availability of semiconductors were easing. The company’s LCV sales would have been higher by 10-15 per cent had there not been any chip shortages. “The indications we get from our vendors is that the situation is improving,” he added.

He also indicated that the company would soon launch CNG variants while its EV arm Switch Mobility would start rolling out electric models in six months from now. “We are working to make available all of our models on alternative fuel options – CNG, electric etc,” he said.

The company hopes to increase its market share in the pickup segment from the current 20 per cent. It has already strengthened the network with the addition of 43 new outlets in the last five months. Since its launch in September 2020, the company has sold more than 35,000 units of Bada Dost in the country. Its pickup Dost addresses the requirements in the lower category of the 2-3.5 GVW segment.

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